There are probably a few places that come to mind when you think of the country’s most dangerous cities. There is bound to be some level of crime in every city. Unfortunately, certain places have a reputation for having more criminal activity than others. How do the most dangerous cities rank on our list? Most lists use data based on crime rates, conflict levels, socio-economic factors, health risks, law enforcement effectiveness and international security reports. Each list tends to weigh the factors differently, so our list includes the cities most often cited as most dangerous among the seven websites we found. Do you agree with our list? Did we miss a city that you think should be in the top five? Let us know in the comments below.

The list: most dangerous cities in America, according to experts

1. Bessemer, AL

Bessemer, Alabama pinned on a map
Bessemer, Alabama pinned on a map (Photo by Dmitrijs Kaminskis on Shutterstock)

Here are some disturbing numbers. According to Traveling Lifestyle, “The chance of becoming a victim of a crime in Bessemer is 1 in 9.” This puts the city of 27,000 people at the top of our list of the most dangerous cities in the US

Bessemer is just 16 miles south of Birmingham, another city that made our list. The New York Post says Bessemer has seen a spike in physical assaults, property crimes and motor vehicle thefts.

Kim Komando, once called “The Marvel City” for its rapid growth in its early years, says Bessemer is now known as the community with the highest crime rate in the countrywith 33.18 violent crimes per 1,000 inhabitants.

2. Memphis, Tenn

Memphis, TNMemphis, TN
Memphis, TN (Photo by Heidi Kaden on Unsplash)

Memphis is a very different place than when Elvis Presley walked the halls of Graceland. Now, it has a crime rate that is 237 percent higher than the national average. According to Property Club: “The most dangerous neighborhoods in Memphis are Downtown, Parkway Village-Oakhaven and Berclair-Highland Heights.

If you visit Memphis, Traveling Lifestyle reminds you to “keep your wits about you,” especially at night, so you don’t become a victim of crime.

The Memphis Police Department has been trying to reduce crime in the city for decades. According to U.S. News and World Report, the city uses reporting data to “identify and address crime hotspots in the city.” The data is posted weekly on the police website.

3. St. Louis, Missouri

Gateway Arch National Park, St. Louis MO (Photo by Robert Linder on Unsplash)Gateway Arch National Park, St. Louis MO (Photo by Robert Linder on Unsplash)
Gateway Arch National Park, St. Louis MO (Photo by Robert Linder on Unsplash)

While the St. Louis Arch may be inviting, you may not get such a homey feeling if you encounter danger while visiting St. Louis. According to Property Club you have a one in fifty chance of being targeted by a criminal in the Gate to the West. The neighborhoods with the highest crime? Peabody-Darst-Webbe, Hamilton Heights, Walnut Park West and College Hill.

It was hard for St. Louis to get off this list, because high poverty rates and unemployment. Norada Real Estate Investments writes: “The concentration of poverty in certain neighborhoods increases the pressure on social systems and increases the risk of criminal involvement.” The prevalence of firearms also plays a role in the number of violent crimes.

According to The Hill, St. Louis has the the third highest crime costs per capitafor $11,055.

4. Detroit, Michigan

Detroit, MIDetroit, MI
Detroit, MI (Photo by William Duggan on Unsplash)

Detroit is no stranger to danger and sits at number four on our list. Norada Real Estate Investments says that thanks to urban decay, many abandoned buildings are attracting “illegal drug trafficking, squatters and gang-related activity.” Efforts continue to revitalize some of these areas and reduce crime.

The Motor City may be known for car manufacturing, but it is also known for high crime. Traveling lifestyle says the crime rate is “several times the national average” making it one of the most dangerous cities in the country.

According to The Hill, Detroit does slightly better than St. Louis when it comes to the cost of crime per capita, at $9,291, but still ranks high in the rankings for being dangerous, according to many experts.

5. Birmingham, AL

The Birmingham skyline at duskThe Birmingham skyline at dusk
Birmingham Skyline at Dusk (Photo by Zach Farmer on Unsplash)

Another Alabama city rounds out our top five. Traveling Lifestyle reports that local authorities in Birmingham have tried to reduce crime, but it remains “higher than 98% of other communities” in the state.

Birmingham is known as the founding city of Veterans Day. Like the other places on this list, there are many good things about the community, but crime lingers beneath the surface. According to Norada Real Estate Investments, Birmingham’s violent crime index includes “homicides, robberies and assaults” and is off the charts.

When it comes to the cost of crime per capita, The Hill says Birmingham comes out on top at a whopping $11,392.

Sources used to compile our list:

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